Avengers: Age of Ultron

Since its release six weeks ago, Avengers: Age of Ultron
has succeeded to gross around 1.35 billion dollars worldwide by attracting the fans
of comic books and action films alike. Ultron is not only designed to be
a sequel to the 2012 Avengers film but also it is a continuation
of stories and characters’ arcs  that
started in previous Iron Man, Captain America, Thor Hulk films and the
soon-to-be released Ant-Man. A third phase by Marvel studios will feature
many other sequels including Captain America: Civil War next year,
another Thor film and the two parter Avengers: Infinity Wars scheduled
for consecutive 2018 and 2019 releases.
I had the chance of watching the first Avengers film
in a New York theater next to Times Squares along with a handful of New York’s finest
film critics. Although some of them were in their fifties or more, I noticed
they were eagerly picking up the 3D glasses in order to enter the realm of The
Avengers. I guess that was comic books and superhero films do to their viewers:
they bring back the child that is still living inside. I remember that I read my
first American comic book back in the late 1970s and it was an issue of Marvel
Team-Up featuring Spider-Man and The Mighty Thor. I found out now while writing
this article that a copy of this issue is still available on ebay for 5.99
dollars. I remember I was more attracted to Belgian comics since it was
translated into Arabic as well during that same time also. So Tintin was my
favorite and many other characters that appeared in the magazine that had his
name. Tintin was also admired for a long time ago by Steven Spielberg who
succeeded to adapt two of Tintin’s book into one film, the 2011 released The
Adventures of Tintin
. 
American comic books also try hard to teach kids and teenage
how the good can beat the evil. However, it injects, with or without intent,
some sense of superiority in looking to the others. Let’s face it, it could
inspire few young people to use violence as a method of expression and sometimes,
this could lead to crime. Last week, a young man from England was said to be
imitating the character of Wolverine by gluing knives on his hands to appear
like claws of his favorite character. The young man is suspected of killing his
whole family before strangling himself to death.
But let’s go back to the movies: Both Avengers and Avengers:
Age of Ultron
were written and directed by Joss Whedon so lots of
similitude exists between the two films. The first film had Loki, the brother
of Thor, leading an extraterrestrial army to enslave humanity. The second has
Tony Stark aka Iron Man trying to develop an Artificial Intelligence program
called Ultron that surprisingly
materializes into a robot with a belief that saving Earth can only happen by the
extinction of humanity. I must say that Avengers: Age of Ultron looks a
little pale copy of the first Avengers that was original in featuring,
in a more polished way, the exchanges between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark as
two scientists not as only Hulk and Iron Man and in having Thor, Iron Man,
Captain America and Hulk fighting each other’s egos before learning how to
assemble in order to face a bigger menace. Ultron has one of these
fights with Iron Man, wearing a special arm suite called Hulkbuster, is trying
to control Hulk’s rampage after the latter was influenced by The Scarlet Witch.
Also, the climax in Ultron with the Avengers facing the army of Ultron is quite
similar to the New York showdown when they faced Loki’s warriors.  Ultron has also the character of Tony
Stark, and hence Robert Downey Jr, dissolving more within the Avengers group
although the cinematic version of Stark was the most beloved of the all
avengers. I assume it if weren’t for the success of Iron Man films thanks to
the popularity of Robert Downey Jr, Marvel would have not expand its universe
to that current extent. It is said that Robert Downey Jr will retire from
Marvel films after portraying Iron Man/ Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil
War
and Avengers: Infinity Wars. But can we imagine another actor to
fill in his shoes?

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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